Nancy Spencer Licensed Midwife
Nancy’s passion for midwifery—for moms, their babies, and the care of families in a childbirth setting—began to take shape in the mid-1960’s. She came into contact with a number of alternative health care providers, considered at that time to be very progressive. These relationships became the basis for a new approach to health, especially to childbirth. When Nancy and her husband were expecting their first child, they wanted a personal, peaceful, natural birthing experience. With much diligent effort, they were among the first couples in their state to enjoy a planned unmedicated birth with the father in the delivery room.
In 1967, shortly after her first son’s birth, Nancy met Dr. Robert A. Bradley. He had recently written the widely influential book, Husband-Coached Childbirth, which later became the foundation for the creators of The Bradley Method, a popular approach to natural childbirth. This relationship furthered Nancy’s interest in the emerging movement of childbirth education and methods of natural childbirth that were beginning to awaken all over the nation.
Nancy completed her education at the University of Washington, earning her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, with a degree in English Literature, with an invitation to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1970, Nancy was hired by Green River Community College and Olympic Community College in Washington State to create a curriculum of classes designed to educate the growing number of people who desired to know about alternative styles of labor and delivery, and to learn how they could be more actively involved in the process of unmedicated labor and birth. Nancy taught these classes throughout the community for 15 years.
During the 1970’s, Nancy apprenticed with a physician who owned a stand-alone birth clinic in Washington. Situated in the center of a bustling city and surrounded by towering evergreens, this clinic was a haven, a serene setting, and Nancy assisted many births there.
In the mid and late 1970’s, Nancy’s grandfather-in-law, then Chairman of the Social and Health Services Committee in the State of Washington, sponsored midwifery legislation which eventually resulted in the current midwifery law. It was a bold and forward move that has had positive repercussions throughout Washington, and served as an example for other states throughout the years.
In 1981, Nancy enrolled in the second class at Seattle Midwifery School, completing this program for direct entry midwives in 1983. This school continues, nationally, to be in the forefront of excellent midwifery education, and offering myriad programs in support of women and families.
In 2001, together with another nurse midwife, Nancy formed Professional Midwives Affiliation, a Washington State approved organization whose mission is to improve outcomes for mothers and babies under the care of midwives. This group includes midwives, physicians, childbirth educators, nurses, pediatricians, diabetic educators, and others, combining an interdisciplinary approach, continuing education, and peer review. Its goal is to provide optimum support for midwives who are interested in maintaining the highest standards and contributing to the wellbeing of midwifery clients—those precious moms and babies so loved by the midwives.
Today, Nancy has a flourishing midwifery practice and has delivered nearly 4000 babies over almost four decades. Since 1994, in addition to her homebirth practice, she cares for moms and babies at Lakeside Birth Center, on beautiful Lake Tapps, in Pierce County, Washington. Licensed by the State of Washington as a free-standing birth center, this lovely clinic serves the childbearing needs of families throughout the region.